Friday, October 9, 2009

Pembroke triumph; Glens outdone

Pembroke earned up Ireland's first ever win in the EuroHockey League this evening in Barcelona as Alan Sothern struck four times to oust Scottish champions Kelburne 4-2.

They began in scintillating fashion. Sothern scored the quickest goal in the competition's three year history. He latched onto Mark Ralph's mistake to fire home a reverse in just the seventh second.

Eight minutes in and the former St Andrew's man had doubled the lead with an absolute stunner. Conor Harte's immense diagonal pass finding Justin Sherriff ghosting away from goal before spinning, penetrating the circle. His brilliant reverse-stick cross found the diving stick of Sothern for 2-0.

And it was three when Craig Fulton's first two touches of the game yielded a penalty stroke. His first set Sothern free down the right. His return found Fulton deep in the circle. The player-coach hit the post but was impeded in so doing and Sothern stepped up to nail the stroke. A wonder start, 3-0 inside 15 minutes.

Indeed, Pembroke looked dangerous every time they went forward. Playing on the counter, the 'Broke exploited a severe lack of pace with Sherriff, O'Connor and Giles running the gaps.

Kelburne resorted to half court in the second quarter with damage limitation on their minds prior to the big break. They got there unscathed despite Michael Bremner's sin-binning and Sothern's first corner attempt.

And coach Derek Forsyth worked some half-time magic as both sides emerged in the second half as unrecognisable from their first half showings.

Ross Stott pounced on a close-range chance - former Monkstown skipper Ian Horsfield twice involved in the build-up - to grab a lifeline in the 38th minute and they had plenty to play for when Mark Ralph netted his side's first corner.

Nerves were definitely jangling as the Scots pinned Pembroke in their 25 for a 15 minute period. It served as a wake-up call and Pembroke created a series of chances - the pick of which fell to Giles but was well smothered - and they got the vital incision a minute into the fourth quarter.

Gordy Elliott won a corner on appeal and Sothern found the backboard from the fifth corner of the game. A flurry of cards worked out in Pembroke's favour as the clock wound down. Craig Fulton was sin-binned for two minutes but the Scots went down to nine players with Willie Marshall and Jonny Christie both seeing yellow.

It made it a relatively easy clock-watching affair and erased the painful memories of two year's ago when Pembroke let a two-goal lead slip against Polish opposition to miss out on advancing.

This time out, Pembroke have the momentum in Pool H and will qualify if Kelburne cannot beat Rotterdam tomorrow.

In  Pool G, Glenanne, however, have it all to do. They lost to 2008 champions UHC Hamburg 4-1 in their first appearance at this level as a greater cutting edge divided the teams.

A brilliantly boisterous crowd made this the most atmospheric tie of the day as close on 100 travelling Glens painted the stadium green with several pirates greeting every Brendan Parsons' touch with an 'arrrgh'.

They were stung, however, in the fourth minute when Moritz Furste - player of the tournament in 2007/08 - with an individual effort, burning off three challenges. His shot was half-stopped by Stephen Doran but spun behind the goalkeeper and flipped in the rebound from a matter of centimetres.

Indeed, it was quite a nervy beginning from the Tallaght club with misplaced passes from the back building the pressure. One such moment saw Joe Brennan pick-pocketed on the circle's edge by Florian Fuchs and within the blink of an eye it was 2-0.

Stephen Butler responded at corner time for 2-1 in the 20th minute to make it a contest once more and the Glens gave as good as they got. The interplay of Phillip Witte and Fuchs, though, meant the Germans always held the aces and they created over ten chances for one another.

Mo Furste restored the two goal advantage in the second half after three minutes of concerted pressing. Gunning for a three-goal cushion - to deny the Glens a bonus point - Uhlenhorst left plenty of gaps which the marauding Butler made good use of.

Plenty of half-chances, though, did not unduly test Nicolas Jacobi and UHC exploited a man advantage when Johnny Goulding was sin-binned in the 57th minute with Fuchs netting his second - Furste the creator in chief.

A brilliant Jacobi stick save from Butler's drag spun just out of Brennan's reach while Goulding and Alan Lewis also had chances in the closing stages.

Doran guessed right to block Furste's late stroke but the Glens missed out on a bonus point and must now beat Grunwald Poznan to get their progression hopes on track. A draw does not eliminate them but leaves their fate in the hands of already qualified UHC.

Elsewhere, Ulster men Warren McCully and Chris Cargo were the first Irish men in action. McCully officiated   Reading's lively 4-3 win over CA Montrouge with Cargo lining out in midfield.

Results: Glenanne 1 (Stephen Butler) UHC Hamburg 4 (Florian Fuchs 2, Moritz Furste 2); Pembroke Wanderers 4 (Alan Sothern 4) Kelburne 2 (R Stott, M Ralph)
Pool G: 1. UHC Hamburg 5pts (+3) 2. Grunwald Poznan 0pts (0) 3. Glenanne 0pts (-3)
Pool H: 1. Pembroke 5pts (+2) 2. HC Rotterdam 0pts (0) 3. Kelburne 1pt (-2)

Saturday fixture: Glenanne vs Grunwald Poznan, 11.30am
Sunday fixture: Pembroke Wanderers vs HC Rotterdam, 1.30pm

* For Frank Uilijenbroek's photos from the Glenanne match with UHC Hamburg, click here. His set of pics from the Pembroke vs Kelburne match are here. To read the live match-trackers from today's action from Glenanne vs UHC Hamburg, click here, and for Pembroke vs Kelburne, click here.


Anonymous said...

When will list of people who got irish trials be up stephen?

Stephen Findlater said...

To be honest, I don't have any idea. If anyone knows anymore on this query, let me know

Anonymous said...

Check out Roaan Carlos Tevez gormley on the EHL player profiles!

Anonymous said...

well done pembroke!!! any chance you will host next round??
cmon glens, sharpy n steve rouse the boys n turn over the poles!!

robbie mc minn

Anonymous said...

go on tevez!!!!